Hebrews 12: 11-13
A Christian writer colleague was recently struck by debilitating nerve pain in her back. For three days, she was flat on her back, able to only sit for two to three minutes at a time. Now she has progressed to using a walker.
Her physical therapist has given her a strict limitation: As long as she can keep her gait even, she is allowed to walk. But as soon as she limps or shuffles, she must stop. My colleague actually loves the clarity of the limitation and the discipline that she is receiving in her therapy.
Sometimes life puts us flat on our backs. Perhaps a major, negative event occurs. Maybe we've made a huge mistake that seems unforgivable. The weight of our sin may knock us back as we realize that we have not yet reached the level of spiritual capability that we thought we had.
Like my fellow writer, we can experience the discomfort of discipline associated with our learning process. The writer of Hebrews put a positive spin on the Lord's discipline in Hebrews 12: 11-13:
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
My colleague is responding well to her physical therapist's discipline. Spiritually speaking, she is also responding well to her setback. She wrote, "It sounds terrible compared to complete mobility, but to me, it is wonderful! It’s clear and I've got the courage to do it. I'm making progress and moving again. It's healing. Thank You, Jesus!!!!"
Does God inflict trouble and hardship upon us? I don't think that's true. But when life happens, or when the consequences of our actions catch up with us, God can use that event to teach us in a way that revives our awareness and strengthens our resolve going forward.
May we be open to spiritual discipline that produces a harvest of righteousness and peace as we accept our training.
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